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Culture in St Lucia


The culture of St Lucia has been influenced by African, East Indian, French and English heritage. Governmental interest in the arts has grown since independence, and the state sometimes collaborates with an NGO, the Folk Research Centre. Sponsorship of the arts by local business has also grown, reflecting a concern for local enterprise beyond its economic utility.


St Lucia boasts a Nobel prize-winning poet and playwright, Derek Walcott. The island has also produced a number of other writers of somewhat less renown. Interest in literature and its production continues to be significant.

Visual Arts

Graphic arts have received less attention than literature or performance, but the St Omer family, under the guidance of its artistic patriarch, Dunstan, has produced remarkable art in the form of public murals, some found in the churches of the island. Another artist of international reputation is Joseph Eudovic, a wood sculptor who maintains a studio and shop near Castries.

Performing Arts

Performing art receives much attention and participation in St Lucia. Perhaps the early work of Derek Walcott and his brother, Roddy, also a playwright, set the stage for an interest in drama. It has continued, also inspired by the 'Creolisation' movement, and a number of performances are staged throughout the year in different venues.

Production of popular music has also flourished during the last 30 to 40 years of the 20th century. Many St Lucian groups have participated in the explosion of popular forms that came from the Lesser Antilles beginning about 1970. Recordings of local groups are found in record stores and can be heard on local radio stations. The growth of the Creolisation movement has given new vitality to traditional musical and performance forms, culminating in the annual celebration of Jounen Kwéyo`l. These forms, often denigrated in the past, are now seen as components of a national cultural expression, to be nurtured and respected.


The musical culture of St Lucia includes an indigenous folk music tradition, as well as other Caribbean music genres such as soca, zouk and reggae. A popular folk dance is the Quadrille.

Events & Festivals

St Lucia holds every year two main traditional festivals, La Woz ("The Rose", on August 30th) and La Magwit ("The Marguerite", on October 17th), organised by the two rival historic cultural associations with the same names whose affiliates comprise most of the country's population.

The Christmas season is celebrated and a number of small festivals and parades take place throughout the island.

St Lucia also celebrates a cultural festival known as Jounen Kweyol (Creole Day). This is celebrated each year on the week of the 27th of October. On the Sunday of this week, the various towns chosen to host this festival put out the result of their grand preparations; local food and drink such as breadfruit and salt fish, manicou (opossum) and roast bake, lime drinks, guava drinks and more. Most people commemorate this day by wearing the island's national wear known as the Madras. Persons who do not want to wear the extreme layers of skirts and dresses make clothing out of the special plaid material.

Secular observances include an internationally-renowned Jazz Festival. Beginning in 1991, this annual festival draws crowds of music-lovers from around the world.

Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, St Lucia held a carnival before Lent. In 1999, it was moved to mid-July so as not to clash with the much larger Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, and in effort to attract more overseas visitors. It is a two-day festival where people walk about two miles. Before carnival, there is a competition among women in the country on who to be the queen of carnival of year.





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